Aadam Shaazad OH (2023) attended Hampton on a completely Free Place from the age of 11 to 18. Today, he is at the University of Oxford, on one of the world’s most prestigious degree courses, Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE).

Aadam grew up in Hampton, in a single-parent household and attended a local state primary school. Hampton is committed to offering Free Places to talented boys, whose family cannot afford the cost of an independent education but who would thrive at the school. Aadam and his mother Nusrat were delighted to learn that he qualified for a completely Free Place, that covered not only the yearly fees but additional expenses including uniform, lunches, co-curricular activities, and trips.  Aadam and Nusrat spoke about about their experience of a Hampton Free Place:

Why Hampton?

  • Nusrat: I thought Hampton was the right school for Aadam because it had everything I wanted him to have. Not only studies, but the wonderful facilities, and all the extra activities. It was the whole package for him and I wanted him to enjoy growing up in this atmosphere and he did. He would wake up in the morning, so excited and happy to go to school. Hampton gave Aadam all the support he needed to grow from an 11-year-old boy to a lovely young man.

What was the admissions process like?

  • Aadam:  The 11+  involved an exam and interview follow-up and it was challenging at the time as I was only 11-years-old.     I remember however that there were aspects that I did find enjoyable – the interview especially. I didn’t feel uncomfortable or scared about discussing topics with the teachers.

Was it easy to settle in?

  • Aadam: You soon get used to the layout, you get used to the people, you get used to the community and because it’s so inviting, that comes quite quickly and easily. Everyone is supportive; the teachers are friendly; the facilities are great and you just feel a warmth from the school.
  • Nusrat:  Hampton was like Aadam’s second home. The School took care of him like they were his parents. They worry about the children so much, so deeply, every child, they treat as an indiviudal.

Describe Hampton life

  • Aadam: Hampton life is a busy life; you are always doing something. There’s lots of things on and you find yourself making decisions about what event or what club you want to attend, running around, getting to places, going to lessons then heading off to lunch and then after lunch heading to another club, then back to the classroom and it’s just kind of like every day is a bit of an adventure. I myself did Model United Nations Club, I did debates, I played football, I campaigned on genocide awareness, but other people did things like badminton, beekeeping, board games club, music and drama. People can spend their days doing whatever they feel truly passionate about.

Describe the pupil support

  • Aadam: So, in terms of structure, you have your class and your form tutor and you build a community around them. Then you have a whole team of people – your Head of Year, your class teachers, the senior leadership team, the counsellors, learning support – all there and in place to make sure that you are having a good Hampton experience and help to deal with any issues you might be struggling with.

Did you make friends?

  • Aadam: I made some amazing friends at Hampton, friends for life, and that community is very strong. Naturally we are all in different places all over the country but I know that whenever I see a Hamptonian there’ll be a friendship there, a connection there through the experience that we shared at School.

Did you feel any different?

  • Aadam: I didn’t feel any different to anyone else at Hampton. Everyone was so involved with getting to know each other, partaking in the co-curriculars, engaging with their lessons, that nobody would have even thought to judge anyone on their financial background. To anyone who’s worried about whether or not they’ll fit in at Hampton based on the fact that they have a Free Place, I would tell them to put those worries aside and to know that everyone at Hampton is so welcoming and supportive that you won’t have to worry about feeling different in any way at all.

How did the Free place help?

  • Aadam:  I think it shaped me as a person, it gave me so many amazing opportunities and an exceptional education. A Free Place at Hampton I really believe can change lives. The support I received over the last seven years has been so monumental in getting me to where I am today and I feel like without it, I wouldn’t be here at Oxford studying PPE.  I often have to pinch myself to think wow, I really am actually here now.
  • Nusrat: When I come to Oxford and I walk around with Aadam, around the university, I feel very proud and very happy. My son is in an amazing place, it’s the best place I could dream for him. Aadam is in the best university in the world now and it’s because of Hampton. Hampton polished him, Hampton helped him and Aadam is here because of Hampton.

Your advice?

  • Nusrat: I would say to other families considering a Free Place, don’t be nervous, Hampton is a very friendly community. Just come and ask for the help and they will be there to help and support you all the way.
  • Aadam: For any family who is looking to apply for a Free Place at Hampton, please do it! Please don’t feel any sort of anxiety about the process or what it will entail. The School is there to help you – they have the best resources available, they are so, so supportive and they will help you through the whole admissions process and beyond for your whole time at Hampton.